Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh Friday hit out at “some people” who were “more concerned about the rights of terrorists than of security forces”. He also slammed those who had raised questions about the hanging of 1993 Mumbai blasts convict Yakub Memon.
Addressing a conference of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and State Human Rights Commissions (SHRC) here, Singh said, “The responsibility of the Home Ministry lies with me. Sometimes I am concerned when I see some people questioning our security forces’ acts of self-defence. There are some people — I am not talking about human rights commissions —who place greater importance on the protection of rights of terrorists and militants than on the self-defence rights of our security forces.”
He added, “In a country where there is a healthy democracy, if someone thinks they can make the government accept their demands by taking recourse to weapons, how can we allow this? This is certainly a matter of concern for us.”
On the hanging of Yakub Memon, Singh said, “The sentence was delivered by the Supreme Court after going through the full judicial process. Some people raised questions about human rights even on this.”
Addressing members of the NHRC and SHRCs, the Home Minister said, “I fail to understand why something like this happens. If there is anyone who can reflect on this, it is you who can come up with suggestions as far as legal rights and remedies are concerned.”
Memon was hanged on July 30, hours after an unprecedented hearing by the Supreme Court at 2 am, when activists sought postponement of the hanging. This was after Memon’s mercy plea had been rejected twice already.
Singh admitted there were “inadequacies in the system” and that judicial delays had resulted in undertrials languishing in prison longer than the maximum sentence allowed for the crimes they had been charged with. “This is certainly a matter of concern, and we are trying to address it. An advisory has been sent to state governments to release whoever has spent more time in prison than the maximum sentence allowed under the relevant sections.”
On human trafficking, Singh said that all stakeholders should draft “an elaborate Standard Operating Procedure” on steps to tackle the issue.